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tv   CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and John Berman  CNN  February 15, 2017 6:00am-7:01am PST

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moms know their kids need love, encouragement and milk. with 8 grams of natural protein, and 8 other nutrients to provide balanced nutrition. moms know kids grow strong when they milk life. good morning everyone. i'm john berman. >> i'm poply harlow. thank you for joining us. we certainly have a lot of news this morning, including new revelations involving president trump and his inner circle and ties with russia. cnn learning the president's high level advisers during the campaign were in constant contact with officials in russia before the election. u.s. intelligence officials became alarmed because of the frequency of the contacts, the timing and how close those people were to president trump. >> this all unfolded as russian
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hackers were targeting the dnc and other democratic operations. by the way, as candidate trump was publicly calling on the russians to publicly hack hillary clinton's e-mails. we don't know the contact or motive before the conversations, but the word they happened is a big real development. we should note the kremlin and donald trump this morning are calling it fake news. cnn's jim sciutto has been working sources all day, all night on this story. jim, bring us up to speed on where we are right now at 9:01 eastern time. >> i should knnote calling it fe news without the president or the white house responding to the substance of the reporting which we've asked them to do. let's get to what the reporting is. one, two things caused alarm, raised red flags in u.s. law enforcement and intelligence. first, the volume and frequency of the communications between trump advisers and the russians. communications happen during campaigns, typically at a much lower level and much less frequent than what they saw
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here. the sect thing is seniority of the advisers involved. i'm told the senior most advisers with great proximity to the president including paul manafort who was then the campaign chairman and mike flynn who was then a national security adviser to the campaign as well as others. those two things raise red flags. one more thing i would note is these communications considered significant enough that they were included in the briefings to then president-elect trump and president obama when they were briefed by the senior most intelligence officials during the transition. >> jim sciutto, great reporting. stay with us. we want to bring our panel in to go through this. joining us, cnn political commentator errol louis is here, global after first analyst kimberly dozier joins us. white house bureau chief philip rucker is also here. let's just play for you what the vice president said when he did this round of media interviews on january 15th just before the administration took office just
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to show the extraordinary difference and how antithetical it is to what cnn learned through jim's reporting. let's play it. >> never had any contact in any way between trump or his associates and the kremlin or cutouts? >> of course not. why would there be any contacts between the campaign? chris, this is all a distraction, and it's all a part of a narrative to delegitimize the election and question the legitimacy of this presidency. >> errol, to you, the vice president not only shakes his head and says of course not, he actually says not only was there not this contact, but it's all being pushed by the other side to delegitimize this president. you say? >> that's the narrative we're hearing from the president himself, the president of the united states taking to twitter this morning, a little over an hour ago to say all this is a distraction and a way to sort of
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take some of the blame off of the clinton campaign, as if we were in the middle of the campaign. we're well past that. we've got facts on the ground from people who are clearly neutral in all of this, not politically partisan. unless you're surming there's grand conspiracy that involves the mainstream press, cnn, the fbi, the cia, the intelligence agencies that are sworn to protect us, we've got some questions that clearly need answering. it also appears clear that vice president pence was not in the loop when a lot of these contacts were going on. let's assume he was speaking honestly and openly. that raises even more questions about why he wasn't included in these many, many contacts. >> what he said january 15th was not true. there were contacts based on reporting between the campaign and russians. sean spicer said in a briefing yesterday, that was not true, there were contacts between the campaign and russian officials based on the reporting that's
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out there. >> the white house is not responding to the substance of jim's report. >> the white house ignoring the substance of the report. errol talks about the tweet right there. let's remind what donald trump himself said over the summer while this was happening, inviting the russians to hack. just listen to this. >> russia, if you're listening, i hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. i think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. >> phil, to you the washington bureau chief of "the washington post," you have a good feel for what's going on in the city. you have michael flynn being pushed out because of a conversation he had with russia, new reporting on russian contacts going back through out the campaign. how much trouble is the white house in over this and who will apply the pressure? >> potentially a lot. this is a pretty explosive development thanks to jim's
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great reporting and "the new york times" as well. i think there are a lot of unanswered questions here. clearly it's a serious investigation that the federal intelligence agencies are undertaking and the fbi. we don't yet know what the substance of the conversations that the trump officials were having with the russian operatives. that's a really key question, whether there was any sort of collusion going on. apparently the sources are saying there's no evidence of that yet. but this investigation is not ov over, and i expect the congress will begin to investigate this very thoroughly which will create more drama and upheaval for this young white house. >> jim, just to be clear for our viewers, that is part of your reporting that so far no evidence of collusion between the two campaigns, but this evidence of a lot of contact, frequently and people close. what would be damning to the white house when you look at this, jim? what is that thing that would really turn the tables here?
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>> not for me to judge. i it depends on where the investigation goes and what his party and the democrats hold him accountable for. i think on the collusion, no evidence of collusion. the context is important and this is what officials keep reminding us. these contacts were not happening in a vacuum. it's not like they were contacting a u.s. ally repeatedly or china, another country. these were repeated contacts at the most senior level in the midst of an unprecedented cyber attack on the u.s. election system, political organizations, parties, individuals, et cetera. that context adds to the alarm and concern why. why have those contacts in the midst of what was going on. that's something that's a legitimate question. it hasn't been answered yet, and it's the kind of thing that the white house and others have to give a substantive answer to, and they haven't done that yet. >> i hope people are listening to you, jim.
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you're talking about the frequency of it and the high level of the conversations. that is true li remarkable. if i can take another step back and talk about, again, why this all matters when we're 27 days, 28 days into the administration. general tony thomas who runs special operations command, he was speaking, and he said something that i think raised a lot of eyebrows about the overall situation 28 days into this administration. he says our government continues to be in unbelievable turmoil. i hope they sort it out soon because we're a nation at war. as a commander i'm concerned our government be as stable as possible. >> kimberly dozier, you're incredibly well sourced in the community. i'm not sure i've heard a general speak like this before, talking about the stability of our government. >> in fairness to general thomas, we did catch him off guard at a conference where he was speaking yesterday and asked him what do you think of the turmoil. he answered honestly. that said, he also said from his
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perspective, special operations raids, missions, et cetera, were going forward without delay, without hiccup. but he expressed disappointment with what happened with mike flynn. and others in that community are saying they can handle this for a while, the wheels will keep turning. but if there's a major sustained crisis, the wheels could start coming off in terms of the decision process which is why they say they need somebody in charge at the national security council as soon as possible, to keep this on the level. we have a russian spy ship now off the u.s. coast. there are going to be questions about, okay, what is the u.s. strategy and policy for that, and who is guiding the ship? >> philip, to you, senator john mccain echoed a little of hat the general said. to sum prize what he said, when you see you don't know who is in charge, he calls it a dysfunction of the trump administration, significant
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dysfunction in the country's national security apparatus. obviously important note to that, john mccain doesn't exactly love the president, but this is significant. >> that's exactly right. we have to consider this russia situation is not happening in a vacuum here. you have a lot of other factors that are coming into play to create this feeling of upheaval in the administration. just over the weekend, president trump was dealing with the north korea situation in an open air dining room at his golf club in front of an audience of all sorts of people who could hear what he was saying. he's had very testy conversations with world leaders including our allies like australia. you have a lot of foreign leaders, ambassadors i've talked to over the last few weeks who are very concerned. they don't know who is in charge, they don't know who to talk to, they don't understand what direction this administration is going. so i think it's incumbent now four weeks in, on the trump white house officials, to really take control of this situation and project more an air of
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competence and confidence. >> great reporting, jim, to you, pamela brown and evan perez. coming up, the trump administration facing many questions this morning. will congress ask them? >> lindsey graham raised the possibility of a select committee. will others follow suit? a key member of congress joins us next. this happens as the white house awaits the arrival of benjamin netanyahu, due to arrive shortly. the two have been effusive in praise for one another. you can bet or you can hope president trump will face questions about this new report on russia. i suppose we'll have to wait and see who he calls on. we'll discuss coming up.
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trump campaign and russian intelligence officials outside the norm, that's not only big league bad, that's a game-changer and i would change my view as to what congress should do. if there are contacts between trump officials and russian intelligence operatives during the campaign, we need a joint select committee in congress to get to the bottom of it and also look at trump's business ties to russia if it is true. i can tell you this, congress is not fake. there are real members of congress up here, republicans and democrats who love our country and are going to make sure that checks and balances that have been in place for 200 years work even when the president's in your own party. >> here to discuss with, republican congressman ron desantos, member of the house oversight and foreign affairs committee as well as the freedom caucus. he join us us from a loud capitol hill. thank you for being with us. i hope you heard senator lindsey graham raising the possibility of a joint select committee in
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congress to investigate the russians connections between the trump campaign. what's your take on that? do you agree with the senator? >> i think what we theed to do is let's get the transcript from the communications and also get the 302, if the fbi did interview him so we can see what the truth is and what's simply innuendo. a select committee is used when there's overlapping jurisdictionment we did it in benghazi because you had four different committees investigating it. i think this matter falls squarely within the intelligence committee. it should be very easy to get this transcript and get some of the information from the fbi to see what did flynn does, did he do anything wrong and obviously how did he communicate that to the white house. >> what would you have to see then, congressman, in that transcript that would tell you, okay, a select committee is needed. as you noted, in the benghazi investigation, you called for a select committee, a special
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council to investigate hillary clinton's e-mails. what do you want to see in the transcript to tell you what's needed. >> benghazi we had four dead bodies, we had susan rice go out on the sunday shows and concoct a false store richlt we weren't getting any information from the administration. it was in the middle of the campaign. you clearly had a terrorist attack there and the stonewalling. some of the stuff about the russian contacts, i read "the new york times" article, and they said there was no evidence that there was coordination. it undercut the splash she headline a little bit. >> congressman, with all due respect, you don't have answers from the administration today. they're not even responding to jim sciutto's reporting and calling it fake news and saying the leaks are the issue here. >> one more point, as recently as january 15th we had mike pence saying there were no conversations. yesterday we had sean spicer denying conversations. that doesn't appear to be the case. the story from the white house
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doesn't appear to be based on reality. >> i think we would get, if you get the transcripts from flynn's conversations, you can see what they discussed. on one land, discussing the sanction, although i'm opposed to decreasing sanctions on russia, i want to increase sanctions. if they discussed it, that's not a criminal offense. they're an incoming administration and can say hey, here is where we're looking to go. if that's what they discussed and flynn wasn't honest with people in the white house, that obviously will be an issue. how then the white house handled it, i know supposedly the doj went and reported there could be an issue. i'm not sure how that checking out either. they may have done investigation. i think those are a lot of questions that the white house will answer. remember, when en we tried to investigate things with obama's white house, we wanted to investigate the iran deal and ben rhodes's role, we didn't get anybody because they're going to claim executive privilege. we have to focus on the agency action, what the fbi knows and
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what the intel committee knows. >> on executive privilege, this happened before he was president, so it isn't at all clear -- >> no, but you're saying once flynn reported it and the vice president was told something else, they were already in office as an administration. there's a question in the press about, okay, why did they wait a couple days, what were they investigating? i don't know the answer to that. it would be hard for congress to be able to get there, whereas we can get the transcript from flynn's communications, potentially get the fbi and we should get, and chairman nunez in the house is working to get the information about who is leaking all this stuff. you really have a concerted effort to undermine the sitting president. that is not the appropriate role of the intelligence committees, to act as political actors and to do selective leaking. >> on that point, nunez is calling for an investigation into the leaking but not into the russia connections here. i wonder if you're in agreement with senator rand paul who came
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out yesterday and said i don't think it's useful to do investigation after investigation, particularly of your own party. he went on to say you're not going to get anything done, like obamacare, et cetera. do you agree -- regardless of party, do you agree that's a good frame of mind helpful to the american people to say maybe it's not the best thing to investigate our own party. >> our job is to investigate facts. when there are legitimate issues like flynn's conversations, we should get the truth for the american people. that's our job. at the same time a lot of my democratic parties, nancy pelosi was reading fake tweets from mike flynn supposedly. they're very upset about the election, throwing everything against the wall seeing what will stick. yes, we have a responsibility to get the facts. let's get that transcript and see what actually transpired. >> if you don't get the transcript, congressman, what's your next step? >> i think you'll have chairman nunez investigating in the house, and i support his
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efforts. and the senate intel committee is investigating broader than just the leaks and i think they're well positioned to do it. we've done things on the oversight committee in the past. any time we get into the classified communications, we basically hit a brick wall and it gets referred to the intel committee. >> congressman, we appreciate you joining us this morning. thank you very much. >> thanks for having me. >> still to come, democrats have a message for attorney general jeff sessions, step aside. why some lawmakers say he should recuse himself from an investigation into michael flynn next.
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i'm poppy harlow. >> i'm john berman. >> thanks for joining us. a lot goings-on. as of right now the trump administration is not responding to questions about the contacts between trump campaign officials and russian officials. while that is going on or not going on more specifically,
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democrats are calling for attorney general jeff sessions to step aside into any investigation into national security adviser michael flynn. >> the white house council cannot lead this investigation, and the new attorney general cannot be -- jeff sessions cannot be the person to lead that investigation. >> it's not an investigation that should take place by jeff sessions. jeff sessions, too tied to the campaign, too tied to the president. it needs to be an independent or a special prosecutor. >> with us now, democratic congressman benny tomlinson. nice to have you on. >> thank you for having me. >> do you believe attorney general sessions should recuse himself from this investigation and any investigation surrounding michael flynn? >> i don't think there's any question. attorney general sessions was intricately involved in the campaign, made serious political positions as he moved into the
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campaign. and so for the american people, i think it's absolutely essential for the integrity of his office and for the american people to know exactly what's going on. so step aside, independent prosecutor. i'm one of those individuals asking for an independent commission to look into this situation. so democrats are interested, the american people are interested in finding out exactly what went on. >> congressman, you released a pretty scathing statement yesterday. you said president trump campaigned on hiring the best people, but the unnecessary chaos he's brought the american people in the first three weeks is bordering on sadistic and is clearly a threat to national security. what else do you have that it's harming national security? >> well, what i can't tell you is what i received in a classified setting. there's a lot going on.
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so much of what they've done in the white house has put us at risk. so for the issuance of that statement is to say, look, we need to pause, look at this situation and fix it. the white house is in disarray, there's competition among staffers against each other, and it's not good for the safety of this country. >> back to you saying no question jeff sessions shouldn't lead any investigation having to do with flynn, he was a sitting senator, the first sitting senator to endorse donald trump as a candidate. he was involved in that role in the campaign as a senator. then he was nominated and confirmed as attorney general. what makes it so different than the close ties between former attorney general eric holder and president obama, for example, that you believe jeff sessions can't do his job? >> i think if there had ever been a question of impropriety on the part of someone in the obama administration, i think
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attorney general holder would have stepped aside. with the question of president clinton meeting with the former attorney general, she stepped aside on the investigation of hillary clinton. i think what we have to do is look at it and give the public the clearest view, unbound, unabridged view so they can see exactly what's going on. for attorney general sessions to be involved in this clearly puts a cloud over whether or not an investigation can be conducted fairly. to push it aside makes a big difference. >> congressman, aside from the fact that it's reporting, again, extensive contacts between the trump campaign and russian officials, michael flynn's contact with the russian ambassador discussing sanctions. do you have any concerns about how this information is coming forward, the fact that there are
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apparently leaks from the intelligence establishment? >> any time you have a president saying i know more about what's going on in the world than the intelligence community, it raises serious questions on those professionals who do it every day. >> are you saying he asked for this? >> well, you know, these individuals don't see party. they do a good job. i've served on the republican and democratic administrations, and we always look at the professionals just like that. we don't impugn their integrity, we don't impugn what they do. i think the president made a mistake by trying to dumb down the professionals in the intelligence community. and so what we have now is clearly that community saying, well -- i don't know if the
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intelligence community is providing this information. all i know is thank god for the press because otherwise members of congress are not getting it. >> to the crux of john's question, it sounds like you're saying he deserves it a bit. that aside, do you believe it's appropriate for any member of the intelligence committee, no matter how mad they may be at the president for things he said, to leak this information that is intercepts with adversaries. >> i don't want you to -- i'm not trying to say that. what i'm saying is the president, by saying this, creates conflict within his own departments. whether or not they leaked it, i have no information. all i have is, for whatever reason, members of the press get the information before members of congress. we or interested as members of congress to find out exactly what went on. i know there are transcripts of
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some of the phone calls. as a mem were of congress, i'd like to see those transcripts in a classified setting to know exactly what was said. you know, we still have the logan act which says private citizens can't conduct foreign policy. so there are some conflicts going on that i think this independent commission can clearly resolve. >> we should note, your republican colleague, ron desantis was on a few moments ago and said he'd like to see the transcripts as well, wants to make them public. you should get together on that. congressman bennie thomson, thank you for being with us. >> thank you. a very big moment at the white house, donald trump meets with israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu. a lot of questions about that. will he confront the russian controversy head on? .
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we have not heard directly from president trump about the new reports of campaign contacts with russian officials, nor have we heard from him since michael flynn was pushed out of his job at the nsa. as chairman, national security adviser. we'll hear from president trump shortly when he holds a joint press conference with israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu. >> we'll carry it for you live. these are leaders who like each other a lot. they have traded compliments many times. today they'll pat each other on the back in person. elise labott is live in washington with more. what a shift this will be in the relationship between bibi netanyahu and president trump. there are questions about two-state solution, not to mention iran, that the two men have to talk about. >> reporter: that's right, poppy. i think everyone is describing this meeting today, going to be a love-fest between prime
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minister netanyahu and president trump, really trying to rekindle their relationship after eight years of acrimony with president obama. i think initially they're still in the honeymoon phase. president trump has been clear about his unequivocal support for israel, but i think as the two leaders start to get together and go down the road and talk about whether there should be a two-state solution, what prime minister netanyahu could do to deliver on some of these things, i think, you know, you're always going to find that relationship does tend to get a little tense. the issues on the table today, iran is really front and center. that's one of the main issues that prime minister netanyahu wants to come speak about, not just the nuclear deal, but also trying to curb iran's other behavior in the region, particularly in syria. he also wants president trump's help in terms of normalizing relations with the arab states.
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that's something israel thinks is very important. syria will also be on the table. i think what prime minister netanyahu is going to find, unless he's willing to give a little on the palestinian question, those other things like normalizing relations are going to be very hard. president trump said a lot of things on the campaign trail. i think now the realities of governing are going to start to hit him, and the more he hears from arab leaders and jared kushner who he's designated to be his peace envoy, if you will, is hearing from these arab leaders, look, we want to work with israel if you're willing to bend on the palestinian question. >> elise labott in washington, thank you so much. obviously this meeting comes at a key time for both leaders, benjamin netanyahu and president trump. downing us, daniel kurt ser, former ambassador to israel under george w. bush. ambassador, thank you for being with us. the white house held a background briefing yesterday
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and let it be known that president trump will no longer insist on the two-state solution as the ultimate goal for middle east policy. how big of a statement is that, and is it the right decision? >> well, john, on one level it's not that meaningful because in practical terms the objective is peace, and that's what the white house statement said. but if the white house believes that there really is an alternative to a two-state outcome, then it hasn't done its homework. previous administrations have tried very hard to pursue all kinds of options and have thought through many different possibilities. you always come back to the two-state reality, because that's the one that the two peoples want. we see it in polling, we see it in the attitudes of governments. so i think the white house will come around at some point. they may be sending this signal
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more for netanyahu's political purposes back home, so as not to give him trouble with the right wing of his coalition. >> if the white house does come around and focus on the two-state solution as you note, there are still many, many questions, especially questions palestinians raised about what netanyahu means when he says a two-state solution. does he mean an independent and equally sovereign state in places like gaza, east jerusalem. that's an important nuance if you're going to get the white house on the same page as a netanyahu administration. >> there's no indication either from the campaign or since that the administration as assimilated the reality that there are two parties who have to negotiate peace. there seems to be a predisposition to support the israeli position. there's a lot of interaction between israeli officials and the administration, very little interaction so far between the
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administration and the palestinians. the report today that the cia director is meeting with mahmoud abbas, the palestinian president. but there needs to be an intensive discussion on both sides of this conflict to understand both their narratives and their requirements. >> the white house has backed off a little bit on some of the more stint jent stands that president trump made during the election season. he's no longer talking about moving the embassy. he may still want to do it, but not saying it every time he talks about israeli, moving it to jerusalem. he's been critical of settlement construction. why do you think he's backed off? >> i think he's come to realize there's a difference between campaigning and governing. you walk through the doors of the oval office and you start to see different sides of the question that you were able to portray rather simplistically on the campaign trail. it makes for a good sound bite during the campaign to say let's
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move the embassy to jerusalem. every candidate for president in the last 30 years has said that, and every one who has been elected has come to the conclusion that that would not be wise if we want to see progress in the peace process. i think slowly but surely there is this educational process taking place, and maybe over time the administration will adopt a position that is more solidly based on the fact that they've got to deal with two sides to this conflict. >> we're fascinated to get your take on the fact that it doesn't look like it will be secretary of state rex tillerson trying to negotiate a meefd peace deal, it will be 35-year-old son-in-law of the president jared kushner. there was a big "new york times" piece over the weekend. he has certainly background in this. the question is does he have the depth of knowledge. what do you make of the move that the president has tapped him to try to get the greatest deal done, if it's possible to get it done, he thinks he's the one to do it?
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>> the good news based on previous experience is that kushner would obviously have the full backing of the president, and we've seen experiences in the peace process where even secretaries of state sometimes go out without the president being fully committed. so that's a good part of this. kushner would have to do a lot of homework. but when he walks into the radio, i think israelis and palestinians would understand he's got the president behind him. on the other hand, it would be equally wise for mr. kushner to make sure secretary tillerson is very much a part of this process. an envoy travels once in a while. state department representatives are there 24/7 and can be helpful to a great degree to a special envoy's work. >> all right, former ambassador daniel kurtzer, thank you very much. >> they weren't dismissive of the idea that jared kushner --
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>> secretary of state after secretary of state after secretary of state. >> at least you know he has the president's ear. president trump's pick for labor secretary and budget director in jeopardy after republican senators refusing to green light their nominations. the gop's leadership last-ditch effort to galvanize support is next. especially for people with heart failure. but today there's entresto®- a breakthrough medicine that can help make more tomorrows possible. tomorrow, i want to see teddy bait his first hook. in the largest heart failure study ever, entresto® was proven to help more people stay alive and out of the hospital than a leading heart failure medicine. women who are pregnant must not take entresto®. it can cause harm or death to an unborn baby. don't take entresto® with an ace inhibitor or or aliskiren. if you've had angioedema while taking an ace
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the president's choice for labor secretary and budget director both in jeopardy this morning, this because republican senators are threatening to vote against confirmation. our manu raju joins us from the
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hill with more. we're not just talking about one or two. we're looking at four gop holdouts on puzder. >> reporter: and there's a chance he can win over some or all of those four senators. if he does well at his confirmation hearing on thursday. some of them still are unsure if they'll support him because of his record running his fast food empire, and his controversies from the past, including hiring an undocumented immigrant as his housekeeper and a messy divorce three decades ago in which his ex-wife at the time was leveling domestic abuse allegations against him and appeared on "the oprah winfrey show" in disguise to talk about it. she's since dropped those charges and supports him whole-heartedly, but that episode of "oprah" in particular has gotten the attention of senators who reviewed it in a private setting.
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i talked to one of those, patty murray of washington, who looked at it and says she has concerns after viewing that tape. you saw the "oprah" video, what did you thinks th of that? >> i think it's very troubling. i'm not going to comment on this case. there's lot on this nominee's background, comments he's made, that are very troubling and should be to all of us, about someone whose job is going to be to protect workers in the workplace, whether it's the ads that he has put out there, comments he has made in the past, issues of sexual harassment, comments he's made about women. >> reporter: will you ask him about the "oprah" tape in the hearing? >> i haven't decided. >> reporter: expect the defense to be, if he's asked about that "oprah" tape, he will point to his ex-wife, who said she
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regrets doing it, and only did it to get a free trip to chicago. mick mulvaney, donald trump's pick for budget director, sources are telling me that thad cochran, senate appropriations chairman, has not yet decided whether to support him because of his concerns over mulvaney's views over defense spending, after john mccain also raised concerns. we could be viewing another 50/50 tie in the senate. mike pence would have to break it. >> manu raju for us on capitol hill. the big question on capitol hill is the news of the day, russian contacts with the trump campaign during election season. what will congress do about this? in just a few minutes we may get a better sense. there's going to be a bipartisan news conference, scheduled to be on russian sanctions. you can bet it will turn to the idea of investigations. stay with us.
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as one of the most popular comedians on television during the '60s and 'on the part 60s, t is one of those showcased in cnn's "the history of comedy." >> is it easy to be sexy and funny at the same time? >> oh, yes, very easy. [ laughter ] >> it may be easier for you, carol. >> carol burnett is the single most talented woman or purchaerr ever. she could do anything. >> she started on the gary moore show and became a big star.
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people forget just how much she was a part of the culture at one point in time. >> i did not think that i would want to ever -- could ever host a variety show. >> welcome to our first show we're doing, i'm excited and happy that you're all with us tonight. looks like we have a nice full group. could you bump up the lights so i can see? ooh, gorgeous! >> they had an image of a fellow in a tuxedo coming out and doing a monologue, and will they take a woman doing this. i said, i hope they'll take me for at least 13 weeks. and it worked. it worked for 11 years. i never thought it would go that long. >> of course you can watch "the history of comedy" tomorrow night at 10:00 p.m. right here on cnn. the next hour of "cnn newsroom" begins right now. good morning, everyone,
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poppy harlow. >> i'm john berman. talk is swirling around washington about contact between russian officials and trump campaign officials during election season, and what congress will do about it. we might learn in a few minutes. a bipartisan group of lawmakers holds a news conference in a short bit. sources told cnn that senior trump officials including paul manafort and michael flynn were in constant contact with russian officials during the election. >> the key roles of those advisers, the number of their conversations with russian officials, and the timing, which was key because this all was happening as russia was targeting the clinton


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